Is My Computer Wireless-Ready?


To connect to wireless networks, a computer must have a wireless adapter. Use the instructions below to find out if your computer has a wireless adapter.

If your computer has a wireless adapter, you may follow the Windows instructions or Mac instructions to connect to a wireless network.

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Mac OS X

  1. In the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  2. Click the Network icon.
  3. If you don’t see a column on the left listing your internet options, click the Show menu and select Network Port Configurations (the wording of this is slightly different with different versions of Mac OS X, but it will be the last option in the Show menu).

    If you find AirPort or Wi-Fi listed, your Mac has a wireless card and is ready to go wireless. Click on AirPort or Wi-Fi and check to make sure it is enabled.

    If AirPort or Wi-Fi is not listed, your Mac may be wireless-ready. You can purchase and install an AirPort wireless card from Apple. (Older Macs may not support AirPort but you may be able to find a third-party adapter from another company.)

    Note: If you’re running a Macintosh operating system older than 10.3, you will not be able to connect to a network that is using WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). Cruzio recommends upgrading your operating system if you need to connect to WPA networks.

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Windows Vista

  1. Click the Windows button (the round button with the Windows 4-color flag icon) and select “Control Panel”.
  2. Click the “Network and Internet” link.
  3. Click the “Network and Sharing Center” link.

    If your computer is wireless-ready, then a “view available wireless networks” link will appear on the left side of this window. If you do not see this link, then your computer might need a wireless adapter, or proper drivers installed.

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Windows XP

  1. Click the “Start” menu and select “Control Panel”.
  2. Click “Network Connections” (if it says “Internet and Network Connections”, click that and then choose “Network Connections” in the bottom right hand corner).

    Look for an icon named “Wireless Connection”. If you have this, your computer is wireless-ready. If you don’t, you will need to add a wireless adapter.

    Note: If you want to connect to a network using WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), and you are running Windows XP but not Service Pack 2, you will need to upgrade to Service Pack 2. This is a free download using Windows Update.

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Older Windows Operating Systems

If you’re running a Windows Operating System older than XP (’98, 2000, ME) you’ll need to use the software that came with your wireless adapter. This software is rarely as good as the built-in software provided by Windows XP and newer.

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